BBC (ended 1993)



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Show Summary

Welcome to the Mulberry guide at The advertisement read: "Wanted: young person to render general domestic assistance." According to Bert and Alice, the two surly servants who have worked for the formidable Miss Farnaby since they were children, the notice should have read "Wanted: masochist to be at beck and call of cantankerous old trout." Suddenly, out of nowhere comes the mysterious Mulberry, arriving at Farnaby Manor to fill the recently vacated position of companion to the reclusive Miss Farnaby, even before the advertisement could be posted. He has no experience and no references, in fact nothing at all except his large carpet bag. And how did he know about the job? Mulberry, with his charm and wit, secures the position and the manor, Miss Farnaby, and the staff will never be the same again. This strange yet unique and enchanting British Comedy is set in rural England and the manor of the spinster Miss Rose Farnaby, a cantankerous and lonely lady nearing the end of her life. Over the years a distrust has developed between Miss Farnaby and her staff of Bert and Alice Finch. Bert is the gardener and grounds keeper and his wife Alice serves as the cook and housekeeper. Even though they and Miss Farnaby grew up together at the manor, a gap has continued to widen in their relationship. Miss Farnaby, thinking that their loyalty is only an effort to insure she will leave them a good pension when she passes on, while they think she is distancing herself in order to cut them out of her will completely. Into this situation comes Mulberry, the strange and mysterious new companion for Miss Farnaby, who turns everyone's lives upside down by his wit, his manner, and his determination to "change the old routine" and make the gloomy manor a fun place to live. But Mulberry is not what he seems to be. He is in fact the son of Death, and has been sent to the manor to collect Miss Farnaby for his father, the Grim Reaper, and escort her into the next world. But the plan doesn't quite work out as his father wanted it to since Mulberry becomes attached to Miss Farnaby and is determined to make her life happy and enjoyable, well, for what time she has left. This he does much to the dismay of Mulberry's father, who appears occasionally to remind Mulberry why he is there and that he needs to "get on with it." In one episode in frustration, to buy more time for him and Miss Farnaby, he asks his mother, Springtime, to intercede with his father and delay Miss Farnaby's departure a little longer. She does and thus Mulberry is given more time to bring Miss Farnaby out of her doldrums and into a whole new world that had passed her by for all those years. With each episode Mulberry continues to bring out the buried enthusiasm and youthfully delight of the elderly spinster. Unfortunately, the show ended abruptly after the second season, without any actual true ending of the series. The shows Producer/Director John Hobbs had fully intended upon there being a third and final season, to properly end the series so viewers would know what happened to Miss Farnaby as well as Bert and Alice, and of course Mulberry. But, according to Chris Nicolaides, one of the music writers for the series, apparently at BBC1 some new directors came on board, one of which stated that the show was, "not his cup of tea." Thus ended one of the most original and delightful of British Comedys. Even more unfortunate, it is not available on video and according to sources, there are no plans to make it available.moreless

    June 13, 2006 DVD Releases

  • John Bennett

    John Bennett

    The Stranger

    Geraldine McEwan

    Geraldine McEwan

    Miss Rose Farnaby

    Lill Roughley

    Lill Roughley

    Alice Finch (Season 1)

    Tony Selby

    Tony Selby

    Albert "Bert" Finch

    Karl Howman

    Karl Howman


    Mary Healey

    Mary Healey

    Alice Finch (Season 2)

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    • If you never saw this show, go out of your way to catch it in any form possible. It is funny, sad and wonderful all at the same time. Mulberry is truly his mother's son rather than his father's.moreless

      I recently got to see all all 13 episodes that make up the entire two series. I'm extremely upset that the BBC would cancel the show when there was only one more series planned that would have wrapped the show up. The concept, writing and acting were all top notch with special notice of the chemistry between Mulberry (Karl Howman)

      and Miss Farnaby (Geraldine McEwan). It was a small and apparently overlooked show, however its quality certainly cannot be questioned.

      If it had been allowed to finish out its run it would have demonstrated how multi-seasonal programs can be plotted with a beginning, middle and end resulting in quality programming without resulting to ratings to push a program beyond its limits resulting in a total disaster. Several programs come to mind in this latter category, but the one that immediately springs to mind is "The X-Files." Of the former category "Babylon 5" spring into my consciousness. However it would have been better for B-5 if Warner Bros. and the syndicated network running the show had not played games resulting in a semi-disjointed ending since they never knew until very late in the production cycle that there would indeed be a 5th season as J. Michael Straczynski

      its creator had planned resulting in many plot threads being completed in season 4.

      All this rambling aside and even without an third series to end the show I repeat: See this show by any means necessary, you won't be sorry.moreless
    • The new servant at Miss Farnaby's estate uses gentle, and not so gentle, humor to coax the reclusive grump into happier interactions. A Mysterious Stranger unnerves the protective new servant at Miss Farnaby's estate. The audience is tickled and wanting tmoreless

      In one of the niftier "Britcoms" I've seen, Mulberry can surprise you by making you chuckle one moment, then surprise you with a quietly poignant moment the next. Some could say it's predictable, and to a degree, it is once you understand the premise of the show. Yet the charasmatic leads- Karl Howman and Geraldine McEwan- are perfectly cast as the fun and enigmatic Mulberry and the mischevious, grumpy, lovely Miss Farnaby, respectively.

      As Bert and Alice, Tony Selby and Lill Roughley (as I've seen only the first series) are fun as the long-suffering handiman and cook of Miss Farnaby. Their relationships with Miss Farnaby, Mulberry, and each other are fun to watch.

      As I noted, I've only seen some of the first series of the show, but I really enjoy the languid pacing (you feel the ending abruptly interrupts your time with the cast sometimes)and the relationships between the main four characters. I also enjoy the premise, which is niftily presented.

      I highly recommend this show to anyone. Parents might also use this to springboard into deeper discussions, as it's a very gentle show with a recurring bit of edge.moreless
    • Unfairly cancelled

      This was a rather interesting little program on British television.

      I caught it in reruns on American Public Television, as part of the "BritComs" evening on a local Public Television Station in NYC.

      For those who don't know it, Mulberry, the title character is the son of DEATH, and he has been assigned to "take" an elderly woman named Miss Farnaby. But Mulberry is also the son of Springtime, and as such, has feelings for Miss Farnaby, whom he learns has been alone for many years now, and once he takes her, will die alone.

      So Mulberry asks his mother to grant Miss Farnaby three months, during which, he will attempt to get her to live life, before he has to take it away from her.

      Unfortunately, the All-Powerful Beeb canceled it before the program actually "ended", so we never got to see what happens.

      Thankfully though, Geraldine McEwan (Miss Farnaby) is now in the role of "Jane Marple" in "Agatha Christie's Miss Marple", so we at least get to see her there.

      But I would still like to see an "ending", even though it would be rather sad, being that Miss Farnaby would die and all, but I have hopes that it at least ends somewhat happily.moreless